Queen Elizabeth gives Prince Harry her formal consent to marry Meghan Markle

By @chelean on
Britain's Queen Elizabeth greets her grandson Prince Harry at the Chelsea Flower Show on press day in London, Britain May 18, 2015.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth greets her grandson Prince Harry at the Chelsea Flower Show on press day in London, Britain May 18, 2015. Reuters/Julian Simmonds/pool

Queen Elizabeth II has formally given Prince Harry and Meghan Markle her consent for their marriage. As the British prince is the fifth — soon-to-be sixth — in line to the throne, he needed the monarch’s consent to marry. And now he got it.

“My Lords, I declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which Consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council,” the Queen declared.

Harry and Meghan’s relationship appears to have the support of the Queen from the start. Meghan, 36, has even attended her first Commonwealth Service with the entire royal family on Monday. She had attended a pre-Christmas meal at Buckingham Palace and stayed with them at Sandringham over the holiday season in December. And on Mother’s Day on Sunday, she was allegedly invited to an “intimate” lunch with the Queen herself.

With the wedding coming soon, it’s safe to say that Queen Elizabeth has already welcomed her future granddaughter-in-law into the family with open arms. But Harry needed more than that before he can legally marry Meghan.

The 2013 Succession to the Crown Act of the UK states that the first six persons next in line to the British throne need the monarch’s consent to marry. Harry, who was born third in line but now about to become sixth, still needed his grandmother’s consent. It’s just a formality but he needed it just the same. Because if the Queen did not give her consent, his marriage would be unlawful. His brother, Prince William, also received Her Majesty’s consent to marry Kate Middleton before they tied the knot in 2011.

But whether the Queen would attend Harry and Meghan’s wedding ceremony is another matter. As the Queen is the head of the Church of England, she is expected not to show support for Harry’s marriage to a divorcee. Meghan was married to Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013. When the Queen’s own son Prince Charles, Harry’s father, married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, she also did not attend their wedding ceremony but attended their televised blessing. Both Charles and Camilla were previously married to other people.

Harry and Meghan will be married on May 19 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. William and Kate will welcome their third child in April, which is why Harry’s place in the line of succession will be bumped down to sixth.